Military career transitions are challenging to even the most highly qualified. But the challenge does not stop once a job offer is tendered. Or, even after you have received your first paycheck.

Prior to accepting a new job, both you and your employer have been focused on finding a mutually inclusive match. That is, the employer needed to find the right person for the job and the employee needed to find the right company to work for. But once you have started a new job, both of you must work together to develop a healthy working relationship. Sometimes this happens immediately. Other times, as a reader who wrote me last month experienced, developing a working relationship simply takes time.

This reader is new to the defense industry. He had worked in another industry and described himself as a “dynamic” professional who was ready to go! After reading about his credentials and job experience, I would agree.

But he feels unchallenged in his new position. He was having second thoughts about his career transition and was wondering if he should put himself back on the job market. What complicated his decision-making was the fact that his security clearance was still pending.

I have found there are three types of career transitions: positional, industry-based or combination. Positional career transitions are lateral job changes in the same industry. These are fairly painless.

On the other hand, industry-based career transitions (lateral job changes in a different industry) or combination transitions (a different job in a different industry) can be painful because you are learning a new business role in a new business context.

It could also be a matter of a lack of a finalized security clearance that has compelled the employer to give our reader temporary work he feels less than challenged by.

I recall a discussion a couple of years ago with an employment agency that worked with clients who required clearances. The agency’s philosophy was that the job skills had more weight than the clearance; however, if the employee’s clearance had not been finalized, the new hire would be given temp work out of his specialty or in a non-cleared capacity until the clearance was finalized.

In any event, I suggested to the reader that he give his new employer a chance and wait out the processing time before re-entering the job market. In the meantime, I recommended he communicate his concerns to his supervisor.

If a candid discussion with his supervisor does not correct the problem, and he continues to experience unchallenging work with no end in sight, then the problem is much deeper.

Hiring a highly skilled professional for a key player role and then relegating that professional to work below his abilities for a long period of time suggests a business or management problem.

If the new employer has a solid management team with an ability to obtain contract work and build their brand in the intensely competitive and extremely hot defense market, then our reader should stick it out.

However, if the business or management team is indeed weak, then his hand is forced and he should seek new opportunities (before a poor business showing forces the employer’s hand). In the future, he should be more attentive to analyzing the managing team and its business track record before accepting a position.


Disclaimer: All opinions, advice, statements or other information expressed in this article are solely the author’s and do not necessarily express the opinions of

Randall Scasny ( Presently, Mr. Scasny is the Founder and Director of, which offers personalized career consulting for the transitioning military veteran.

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